August 1, 2023

Town of Scarborough Newsletter

What's in store for the month ahead? Everything that goes hand-in-hand with summer: Beach days, farmers market Sundays, and even an event dedicated to the season itself— Summerfest! We hope you'll take advantage of Scarborough amenities (beaches, parks, trails, and more) in these few weeks before school starts up again. Meanwhile, the Town Council and School Building Committee have updates related to the consolidated school project, which will be the center of discussions at the special Town Council meeting tomorrow, August 2 (view agenda). Read on for a snapshot of more current happenings.


Make the most of Scarborough this weekend... Visit one of our incredible beaches, walk a Land Trust trail (upcoming events), stop by the Farmers Market, or have a picnic at one of our Town parks.

Tonight! National Night Out with Scarborough Police

Tuesday, August 1


Memorial Park, 5 Durant Drive

The Scarborough Police Department is holding a National Night Out celebration on Tuesday, August 1. The event will be held at Memorial Park from 5:30-7:30pm. Stop by to meet our Scarborough police officers and K9, have a treat from the ice cream truck and take part in some demos and activities.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie.

Beach Cleaning to Resume at Higgins Beach

After a short pause in cleaning the seaweed from Higgins Beach, the Town will resume operations on Thursday, August 3 and continue until Labor Day.

For decades, the Town has assisted volunteers at Higgins Beach who rake seaweed into piles on a weekly basis. The Public Works Department collects the piles of seaweed and historically removed the seaweed from the beach.

This activity typically occurred every Thursday morning throughout the summer months. Until recently, the Town’s involvement in this weekly activity was based on a letter approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP). However, earlier this summer the Town was directed to stop removing the seaweed while MDEP determined if there were permits required to continue this practice. We are pleased to advise that the Town met with the DEP, Bureau of Land Management, and several residents of Higgins Beach to discuss this matter and we have identified a solution that works for everyone this summer and hopefully for future years. 

For the remainder if this summer the Town will resume the activity to collect the seaweed that the volunteers rake. The seaweed will then be placed in a designated area on the beach. To the extent that the volume of seaweed exceeds the capabilities of the designated area at the beach, the remainder of the seaweed will be removed and stockpiled at the Town’s landfill and then brought back to the beach in October and placed in other designated areas within the dune system. These activities are considered “de minimis” and therefore do not require a permit.  

Looking beyond the short-term approach, the Town intends to formally apply for a Permit By Rule from MDEP to allow this activity to continue on an ongoing basis. Once the permit requirements are known, and as a result the Town’s operational requirements for compliance are defined, the Town will communicate these details.  

Our beaches are our most treasured assets. The Town strives to make them accessible to all enjoy, with high respect to endangered species and the fragile dune systems.

Questions? Contact Public Works at or 207.730.4400.

Reminder: LD 290 Senior Tax Relief Program Repealed

The Maine Legislature repealed the LD 290 “Property Tax Stabilization for Senior Citizens” program, effective October 11, 2023. The program was enacted in August 2022 and had allowed Maine seniors 65 and older who owned a permanent residence for at least 10 years and were receiving (or eligible for) a homestead exemption, to freeze taxes at the previous year’s level regardless of income.

The repeal of this program means there will be no reapplication process and no need to follow up with the Assessing Department in late August/early September, as previously communicated. 


Welcome Katie Wilcox, Social Services Coordinator

Last month we welcomed Katie Wilcox in our new role of Social Services Coordinator. Katie was formerly with the Opportunity Alliance, serving as the General Assistance (GA) Administrator for Scarborough and a few other towns. "After working in the GA world for a short time, I knew I wanted to do more to help those in need," she says. "I was surprised to learn just how little program resources there were for these clients, and how hard it is for certain clients to access the resources they are eligible for.

Katie grew up a self-described military brat, raised to fight for the underdog. Because of that, she loves researching to find the best solutions for Mainers in need. "It's incredibly rewarding to be able to connect so many individuals and their families with the vital resources they need to stay safe, warm, and healthy."

Katie and her husband of 24 years live in Naples with their dog Bill and two cats, Toby and Binx. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, quilting, and listening to audio books and true crime podcasts. Welcome aboard, Katie!

Scarborough "Summer Outdoors" Photo Contest 📸

Enter to Win a Gift Card to a Local Business

Outdoors is the place to be this summer in Scarborough—its parks, nature preserves, and beaches provide the perfect setting for the season. We want to see these spaces through your lens. Snap photos while you're out enjoying scenery or time with family, and share with us for a chance to win a gift card from a variety of Scarborough businesses!

How to Submit

Complete our Entry Form to submit your favorite photos. Upload up to three photos with a title and caption (optional). Remember, they must be taken in Scarborough and outdoors to qualify!


Check Out Some of the Latest Entries

"Paddle Boarding at Higgins" by Linda Karwacki (Beaches category)

"Beautiful Scarborough, Maine" by Jennette Googins (Scenic/Natural Landscape category)

"Wild and Blue" by Laura Baer (Families & Fun category)

"Blue Flag Iris at Fuller Farm Preserve" by Christine Labaree (Parks & Paths category)

Check out the latest entries in the Facebook photo album! Entries will be added to this album on a rolling/weekly basis. The photo with the most 'Likes' in each category will win a gift card to a local business here in Scarborough. Thanks to The Dairy Corner, Dunstan Tap & Table, Oak Hill Ace Hardware, Nonesuch River Brewing Company, Highland Farm, and Scarborough Grounds for the prizes!


Fall Election: Nomination Papers Available August 2nd

The next municipal election will be held on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Nomination papers are available in the Town Clerk’s Office on Wednesday, August 2, 2023 for the following seats:

Town Council 

Three 3-year term seats 

Sanitary District 

Three 3-year term seats 

Portland Water District 

One 5-year term seat

Not less than 25 and not more than 100 signatures of qualified registered voters can sign nomination papers for the Town Council and the Sanitary District. Not less than 35 and not more than 50 signatures of qualified registered voters can sign nomination papers for the Portland Water District. All nomination papers must be returned to the Town Clerk’s Office by close of business on Wednesday, September 6, 2023. If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office at (207) 730-4020.


New Rate of Growth Ordinance, Effective as of July 1

In October 2022, the Town Council authorized Councilors Anderson and McGee to facilitate a comprehensive review of Chapter 413 Growth Management Ordinance (GMO). The new ordinance was approved by the Town Council in their June 21, 2023 meeting.

The first action taken by Council was repealing what was known as the “Growth Management Ordinance”, and replacing it with the Rate of Growth Ordinance. The Rate of Growth Ordinance creates three areas for permit allocation based on zoning and Comprehensive Plan designation. Each area has a designated number of growth permits allotted annually (Area 1) and for a three year-period (Areas 2 and 3).

Overall, the Rate of Growth Ordinance allows for 228 units per year (on average) excluding exemptions. It conserves green space by directing the majority of growth to growth areas and allows the Town the opportunity to better predict and prepare for its traffic and school needs. Clarity is also provided to developers via the limited exemptions, 3-year allocation period, and more comprehensive permit tracking. Finally, affordable and workforce housing is regulated separately in the Ordinance to encourage such housing. The Rate of Growth Ordinance took effect July 1st.


August 18: Summerfest!

Friday, August 18


High School Sports Complex

Facebook Event

Come celebrate the end of a great summer with your friends, family, and neighbors at Scarborough’s 27th Annual Summerfest event on August 18! The Town of Scarborough and Community Services hosts this annual event at the High School Sports Complex at no cost. Festivities begin at 5:00pm!

Meet with local nonprofit organizations, jump around in the Bounce Zone (FREE thanks to a generous donation from Town & Country Federal Credit Union), enjoy food available for purchase from a variety of local food trucks, sing along with a musical performance by 12/OC (from 7:00-9:00pm), and end the night with a 9:15pm fireworks show!

Food trucks and vendors include Cargo Pizza, Smokin' Phil's Belly Bustin' BBQ, Steemie Weenies, Cheese the Day, Mr. Tuna, Char Wrig's Sno and Dough Adventure Co., Mow's Munchies, and Poppies Kettle Corn. Local businesses and groups will also be offering goodies like blueberry and apple crisps, ice cream, cotton candy, cakes and cake pops, and much more.

Free parking is available at Scarborough High School, Wentworth School, Scarborough Middle School, Scarborough Public Library, and Scarborough Municipal Building.

Summerfest Cornhole Tournament

Friday, August 18

Registration 4:00pm, Games 5:00pm

Facebook Event

Register online

Grab a partner and register for our first-ever cornhole tournament during Scarborough Summerfest! We are partnering with Wicked Cornhole for this 18+ local tournament held on the high school grass fields as another offering during our family-friendly summer event. Each team will be guaranteed three games finishing with a single elimination tournament tracked on Scoreholio. Check-in, practice, and same-day registrations (if space permits) begin at 4:00pm, and games begin at 5:00pm. Gift card prizes will be presented to the top three teams of the night.

Please Note:

• Players must be 18 or older to play

• Both players must be present when registering

• All seeded games will be randomized

• In the event of rain, the tournament will be moved indoors to a nearby school (exact location TBA)

Attend the August 16th Annual Senior BBQ

Join us for our Annual Senior BBQ! This is a great way to spend time with friends and indulge in all of your favorite summertime food. Live music will be provided by Jim Gallant. Sponsored by Aetna.

Wednesday, August 16

Begins at 11:00 am

Tent on Wentworth Drive (near tennis courts)

$15 per person (Age 55+ event)

Register online, in person at the Hub, or by calling 207-730-4150.


Final Concert in the Park This Thursday

August 3: Don Campbell Band American Crossovers and Originals

Join the fun for the final week of our summer concert series! These free and family-friendly concerts, co-sponsored by Scarborough Chamber of Commerce and Scarborough Community Services, are held on Thursdays evenings at 6:30pm for six weeks in the summer. Be sure to pack a picnic dinner, bring your chairs or blankets, and enjoy the music.

Job Opportunities with the Town of Scarborough

  • Cable TV Camera-Board Operator
  • Parks Maintenance Worker
  • Per-Diem Firefighter/EMT
  • Patrol Officer
  • Emergency Communications 9-1-1 Dispatcher
  • Public Works Maintenance Worker/Plow Truck Driver

See all jobs and application deadlines on our Job Board.


Board & Committee Summer Updates

The Town of Scarborough has a number of citizen-led boards and committees working to enhance our community. Read our latest Board & Committee Newsletter to learn what some of the busier boards and committees have been up to in the past few months. Updates include:

Conservation Commission: 30x30 progress

Sustainability Committee: Reviewing Town's Commercial Design Standards

Long Range Planning Committee: Reviewing Commercial Design Standards and other ordinances

Planning Board: Reviewing a variety of development proposals

Transportation Committee: Installing bike racks and developing a bike byways map

Coastal Waters & Harbor Advisory Committee: Undergoing study of parking lot at Pine Point Co-op

Zoning Board of Appeals: Hearing special exception requests

Senior Programs Advisory Board: Supporting successful "Age Friendly Scarborough" initiative


Unified School Site Details

By Scarborough School Building Committee

Tomorrow evening, Wednesday, August 2, the Town Council will vote to authorize the Town Manager to execute the land deal to secure a site in the Downs for the new unified school. If the school is moved forward for the November referendum election and passed by voters, this will be the new home of our K-3 students.

How was the site chosen? 

• Over 30 meetings were held between February 2022 and April 2023 with different stakeholders to evaluate sites and understand how each site aligned with the long-term goals of the project. 

• Each potential site was evaluated based on eleven selection criteria, including: safety, environment, capacity for future expansion, soil and topography, utilities, transportation safety and traffic, public services, availability, and cost. 

• The Downs was ultimately chosen from a list of 46 potential sites because it met all of the criteria and best aligned with the priorities consistently named by the Scarborough community. 

• The Downs' central location ensures there is equity in travel time to school from anywhere in Scarborough. Its close proximity to the Municipal Campus (consisting of Wentworth, the Middle School, and the High School) keeps Scarborough’s entire student population centrally located and better accommodates families with students at multiple schools. And the 20-25 acre area selected provides enough room for future expansion of K-3 population if our Town’s needs grow. 

Want to understand more details around the selection? Catch up before tomorrow’s meeting by reviewing the presentation and meeting recording from when the School Board voted on site selection. 


Council Corner: Consolidated School Solution Land Deal

By Jon Anderson, Town Council Chair

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Scarborough Town Council.

There is urgency to find a new primary school solution to address existing programming shortfalls and inadequate facilities to meet the existing and future needs on our primary schools. Our Middle School was built too small from day one, currently housing all of 6th grade in portables separate from the main building. A strategic K-8 solution that consolidates K-3 into one new consolidated school and moves 6th grade to Wentworth is the most responsible solution that considers both school programming needs and the long-term financial impact to our community.  

In May, the Council approved a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Downs as a significant step to securing land to support the consolidated school project. The Council is taking further action on August 2nd to establish an Option Agreement. The agreement formalizes the terms of the LOI and commits to a purchase price and shared infrastructure costs. Every voter will have the opportunity as early as November to express their support for the new school solution, which will include the acquisition of the 21.87 acres of land.  

During the rigorous site selection process, I was very apprehensive when the Down’s site was evaluated as the best solution. I supported the recommendation as a Council Liaison to the School Building Committee because of the objective and thorough approach the committee took throughout the process looking at all the options. The site at the Downs is by far the best available option for the new school from all the criteria the committee reviewed. I came to terms that if we are going to invest in a 100+ year solution for our Town, supporting the best site and location near our existing campus was more important than any preconceived notions I had about the Downs.  

The Town has a rich and controversial history with the Downs.  The Credit Enhancement Agreement (CEA) is an economic development tool deliberately put into place to prevent the Town from taking on both the cost and risk of infrastructure by providing performance based tax incentives to Downs. There is a misunderstanding that the Downs “owes the Town land”. As part of the CEA, the Downs is required to reserve land and to engage with the Town in a process to determine the cost and contemplates an update to the CEA as a result. It did not say how much land or at what cost. 

For the Down’s skeptics, I ask that you take a moment to think about the value the Downs is creating for our community, both in terms of coming amenities (e.g. Costco and Allagash) and the new tax value they are creating that will aide in keeping our tax rate stable. Scarborough is changing and growing, and the Downs has become the poster child for it. I understand many are concerned about the change. However, now is the time to work together to find a path forward to meet the looming crisis and needs of our school system. A school system's success is arguably the most impactful foundation for any community's health, and we have an opportunity to support a solution that has been nearly a decade in the making. This has been a huge task led by the School Building Committee, spending hundreds of hours doing research, analysis and engaging with experts to bring a good and affordable solution forward. This is something I hope we all will ultimately take pride and ownership in. 

While I certainly went into the negotiations of the land deal with my guard up, I can say that both parties approached this negotiation understanding the awesomeness of the opportunity to be part of a long-term solution that will outlast all of us and serve many generations of Scarborough residents to come.  We worked tirelessly in good faith over the past eight months, not always agreeing and seeing eye to eye.  We came from different positions and values of what was important and worked hard to try to meet in the middle, ultimately with the Downs putting the needs of our schools at the forefront. However, at this point it’s time for pencils down and decisions need to be made, otherwise this could go on forever. I believe the Council will be acting on a good deal on August 2nd that I hope the Council will agree to move it forward and the Down’s leadership will sign it this week.   


Once the land deal is in place, the Council will be acting at the August 16th meeting to put the Consolidated School Solution and land costs on the ballot.  Over the coming months, I hope you will stay tuned and learn more about the school solution, including the land. But most importantly, I hope that you will come and vote as early as this November with your support.

Scarborough Town Council

Jonathan Anderson, Chair • Jean-Marie Caterina • John Cloutier • Don Hamill • Nick McGee • Karin Shupe • April Sither

Town Council meets the first and third Wednesday of each month. Visit our Town Calendar for links to attend and view agendas.


Summer Tips for Transitioning to Organic Lawn Care

By Rita Breton, Conservation Commission & Jami Fitch, Sustainability Coordinator

Thanks to the Pest Management Policy passed in 2011, all those who use Scarborough parks, playgrounds and sports fields have greatly reduced exposure to pesticides. (See 2019 PMAC Report for details). Families, pets, wildlife and waterways will all benefit as more and more homeowners learn about organic lawn care, and like the Town, choose not to use weed and bug killers. Here are a few things you can do this Summer to begin a transition to a healthy organic lawn that is safe for people, pets and pollinators:

Mow Better - Mow high by setting mower blades between 3 and 4 inches. Taller grass develops stronger roots and shades out weeds. Make sure mower blades are sharp to ensure a clean cut. Dull blades tear grass, making it more susceptible to disease. Cut only the top 1/3 of grass blades and leave the clippings, which is free, natural fertilizer for your lawn. Mow in the early evening, after the heat of the day and vary the mowing pattern every time you mow to prevent soil compaction.

Water Wisely - Lawns need between 1 and 1.5 inches of water per week during the May to October growing season. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on rainfall. Use a rain gauge to measure the amount of water from rainfall. Water between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. to allow the water to soak into the ground before it can evaporate during the heat of the day and avoid watering at night to prevent fungal disease.

Over-seed - Generously spread a mix of endophyte-enhanced fescues and perennial ryegrass seeds (look for a shady grass seed mix) all season long to reduce weeds and pests and be sure to add seed in thin or bare spots before weeds begin to grow.

Grubs - In northern New England, the best way to treat grubs naturally is by using beneficial nematodes (microscopic critters that live in the soil). For nematodes to work, carefully follow package instructions when using these living creatures. Nematodes are best applied in late July/early August when grubs are small and near the surface of the soil.

Lawn Alternatives - Identify shady or wet areas not suited for growing grass. Consider replanting these areas with native ground covers, moisture-loving shrubs or shade perennials. Native plants are best suited to Maine's climate, growing season and soils, so they tend to need less fertilizer than ornamental plants. And because they have natural defenses against insects and disease, they may require very little, if any, bug killers. They also attract beneficial pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Upcoming Programs with Scarborough Land Trust

Tuesday, August 1, 6pm - Anatomy of a Trail (Virtual Event)

Saturday, August 5, 10am - Invasive Species Info and Work Session at Pleasant Hill Preserve

Sunday, August 6, 10am - Morning Yoga at Broadturn Farm

Monday, August 7, 9am - Invasive Species Info and Work Session at Blue Point Preserve

Thursday, August 17, 5:30pm - Brook Trout: Biology, History, and Conservation (Hybrid Event)

Friday, August 18, 12:30pm - Invasive Species Info and Work Session at Pleasant Hill Preserve

Sunday, August 20, 10am - Nature Awareness Walk at Fuller Farm Preserve

Sunday, August 27, , 10am - Morning Yoga at Broadturn Farm


More details and registration links for all of these events can be found at

Project GRACE Collecting School Supplies at Library

Project GRACE, a "neighbors helping neighbors" Scarborough nonprofit, is collecting new school supplies through the month of August. On the wish list are new sturdy backpacks, pencils and pens, erasers, markers, glue and tape. Help by dropping off a few supplies or backpack. New packs filled with supplies for a student in grades K-12, grocery gift cards for fruit and school snacks, as well as retail gift cards for kids' clothes are also needed. Donations can be dropped off anytime inside the Scarborough Public Library or curbside on Monday, August 14th (10am-2pm). 


Scarborough Public Library: August Programs

Summer Learning Program

Summer Finale:

Wednesday August 30, 4-6pm

There is plenty of time to work on your Summer Learning! We are still giving away punch cards for teens and adults, and there are Bingo Sheets for kids and ambitious adults available up until the last possible moment. Our Summer Finale will be on Wednesday, August 30 from 4-6pm. There will be music, bubbles, outdoor games and ice cream! We will be drawing prizes from our summer raffles and all kids who participated in our program will get to choose a book to keep.

Moving Screenings

August starts with a few free movies at the Scarborough Public Library!

Wednesday, August 2, 5pm: The Sandlot (Register)

Friday, August 4, 1:30pm: Book Club (Register)

Monday, August 7, 1:30pm: The sequel, Book Club: The Next Chapter (Register)

Night of the Living Rez Author Interview

Wednesday August 9, 6:30pm


The Library is hosting the Maine Humanities Council interview with Morgan Talty, author of “Night of the Living Rez” as part of a community of “Watch Parties”. That means we’ll watch the live interview together on the big screen, add our questions to the chat, and make a party out of it. Set in a Native community in Maine, the book is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the 21st century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy. For a funny video about our movie snack policy, check out the Library’s Instagram.

Record a Video for Retiring Library Director

The Library is putting together a video “Thank You” for Nancy Crowell, our director who is retiring after 45 years. We’d love to have as many Scarborough voices as possible. Here is the link to upload your own short video, or contact Elsa Rowe at or 207-396-6279 to set up a time to be recorded. The more the merrier, so please consider being a part of this project!


Monday – 9am to 5pm • Tuesday – 9am to 7pm • Wednesday – 9am to 7pm • Thursday – 9am to 7pm • Friday – 9am to 5pm • Saturday – 9am to 1pm • Sunday – Closed

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